Kim Ki-taek and his family are all unemployed and living in a basement level apartment with not a lot of space, or even WiFi. They are struggling to survive and don’t really have much ambition between them. Even though Ki-woo and Ki-Jung have impressive skills. When an opportunity arrises to work for the wealthy Park family a plan is put in place.
*Original title – Gisaengchung
Parasite is a film that already has a lot of critical acclaim surrounding it, the first Korean film to receive the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival and now with the Oscar nominations including Best Picture. It was always going to be hard to not expect too much from this film. Other than the buzz and positive talk surrounding the film I actually went in blind in terms of plot or anything that happened in the film, which certainly was the best way to do it.
The Kim family are living in poverty and that is shown very much so in the opening scene. The search for free WiFi to then be able to check WhatsApp for messages about work really helps to show just how low the whole family have become. We do find out over time the history of Ki-taek and the previous jobs he has had. The place they live is pretty horrendous and they must put up with people peeing in the street on level with the window. Couldn’t really be anymore in the gutter so to speak. It is very important to accept how they are
living surviving in the world.
Dong-ik is then given a golden ticket one day from a close friend who is a University and planning to study abroad during the summer. Offering him a reference to work for a wealthy family and tutor their daughter with English lessons. This is when a very elaborate plan arrises not only for Dong-ik but the whole Kim clan. Which in all honesty I did not see coming at first, but it really was a method for them all to make a lot of money and a very good chance to change their lives for the better.
From the first moment of seeing the Park residence it was clear to see the level of wealth a truly outstanding house designed by a very famous architect. On another level compared to the basement Kim place. Moon-gwang the housekeeper had been in the house even longer than the Park family, she came with it in a way with a recommendation from the previous owner. I found her to be a very interesting character from the start. I won’t be revealing anything else in terms of the plot as I think it is perfect to see everything unfold, with an amazing level of shock and suspense. Also though with some truly funny moments as well, that balance makes the film have a very real feel and addresses wealth and poverty in an extremely unique manner.
One thing I really have to mention though is a discussion around making plans and that the best way to be is not to make a plan as they never work out. I found that very deep and something that I could totally relate to, plans never seem to come off especially when it is something long term. At that moment in the film I actually felt like I could have cried, something I was not expecting at all.
The acting was certainly top class and the character development for all involved meant that you never really hated any of them because in very different ways everyone was just battling to survive and have a better life. Isn’t that what everyone is really trying to do anyway?
I personally think so. Something haunting in the film was the amazing use of the score and that music made me seriously think wow this is a very special film. With that though you may be wondering why I have decided to rate it as 4 stars, my reasoning behind that was while I really enjoyed so many aspects of the film it lacked a tiny something to really blow me away. (Again though that could well be because of the hype and I will look to see the film for a second time).